Los Angeles, CA – A Los Angeles SWAT officer was shot in the face during a standoff with a gunman in Exposition Park on Tuesday afternoon, according to police.
The incident began at approximately 12 p.m., when the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) received a report about a man firing a rifle into the air in the backyard of a residence located in the 1000-block of West 21st Street, KABC reported.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said the lot where the gunman was firing the weapon has two separate residences – one in the front of the property and one at the rear, KTLA reported.
The unnamed 37-year-old suspect was located in the back yard, the chief noted.
Investigators spoke with the occupants in the front residence and discovered they were related to the gunman, KTLA reported.
Chief Moore said they gave police “varying accounts” regarding whether or not the suspect was using drugs, the condition of his mental health, and how many guns he had access to.
The gunman ended up barricading himself inside the back residence, resulting in a SWAT team being dispatched to the scene.
Other members of the suspect’s family were evacuated from the area, Chief Moore told reporters.
Police attempted to negotiate with the gunman to get him to put down his weapons and come outside, but he refused, KTLA reported.
They even played recordings of his family members begging him to surrender peacefully, Chief Moore said.
When those attempts failed, the officers resorted to deploying tear gas into the home, KTLA reported.
The suspect responded by coming out of the house and opening fire on the officers situated outside, according to the chief.
One of the SWAT officers was hit in the chest and face during the ensuing shootout, KTLA reported.
The suspect was hit multiple times during the exchange of gunfire and died at the scene.
His name has not been released.
The wounded officer – a 17-year veteran of the force – was rushed to a local hospital, KABC reported.
Chief Moore said the officer’s body armor stopped the round from penetrating his chest, and he is expected to survive the gunshot wound to his face, according to KABC.
He noted the officer was “obviously shaken,” but that the was “grateful to be alive,” KTLA reported.
“I am thankful for the SWAT officers that risked their life in rescuing him and getting him immediate medical attention,” Chief Moore told reporters. “And I’m also grateful that there was no other further loss of life in this ordeal.”
Investigators recovered a rifle and a handgun at the scene, KABC reported.
They said they believe the gunman may have been under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident.
The investigation into the officer-involved shooting remains ongoing.